Recently, I was leading a series of customer service workshops, where one recurring theme kept popping up: What should I do if I work with people who are not team players and who cause low morale?
One young lady said she had tried everything, and nothing ever changed. I asked if she had confronted her colleague, and she said yes. I asked if she had told her boss, and she said yes. So I proceeded to tell her that if this problem was really an issue, she needed to be persistent in her communication with her boss. She needed to explain WHY this person’s behavior was so detrimental to the team. For example, she could say it affected team morale, which affected how they treated patients, which affected their surveys, which affected their bonuses – you get the idea. Then I said, “If it’s so bad, you might want to look for a new job.” To which she replied, “Oh no, it’s not that bad!”
This brings us to another point: You will not like everyone you work with. Just like you will not like every human being you meet throughout your entire lifetime. But, theoretically, how should we treat people? Most of you will answer emphatically “With respect!” To me, how we treat others goes back to my mother’s advice when I was a child. “Barbara, fill them with kindness.” And I like that attitude because here’s how it works. You don’t have to like me, and I don’t have to like you. You don’t have to agree with me, and I don’t have to agree with you. BUT, I can absolutely be kind and respectful to you. And that’s a very powerful attitude, isn’t it? This attitude rids a lot of negativity and focuses more on the positive.
Strategies that Turn it Around:
When someone you work with has a BAD attitude:
1. Ignore them – as if they didn’t say a word. But make sure this doesn’t interfere with your job responsibilities. You’re still part of a team, working together to provide a service.
2. Be overly positive. For example, if someone says, “I hate my job,” then you reply with, “Oh, really? I LOVE my job.” And say it with a huge and genuine smile.
3. If you are persistent with tip #2, negative coworkers will no longer come to you because you are NO FUN.
4. If they ask, “Who are you? Miss Happy Pants?” You reply with, “Yes, I am Miss Happy Pants. Why don’t you try them on?” Then, hand them a “Happy Pants” button (email me at Barbara@barbarakhozam.com to request a complimentary “Happy Pants” button).
Remember: We don’t have to like everyone, but we can certainly “fill them with kindness.”
Which tips do YOU use for dealing with people you Hate? Feel free to share your comments below.